Interviews

Travel Simplified!

Rafi Mustafa talks about Tripooly, the one stop solution for all your travel needs.

Whether it’s to set up a gondola ride around the canals of Venice or to book a room at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore or to explore the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan, planning a vacation can leave one more lost than the unknown destinations they desire. Between booking the best hotels and flights, travelling within the city, and packing, the planning drains any energy for the vacation itself. Fortunately, Tripooly will handle most of the provisions that will allow you to engulf yourself in your getaway. As an online tourism facilitator, Tripooly allows people to find leisure and honeymoon tour packages, airfare details, corporate travel deals and even customized deals at affordable prices. The platform eliminates the hassle of having to go from agency to agency to look for that perfect deal.
Rafi Mustafa is the Founder & CEO of Tripooly. He is also the co-founder of the premium online lifestyle e-commerce platform ZuumZuum. He has been involved in the online sphere for over 14 years, having worked for companies that include Groupon and Amazon. He also has extensive knowledge regarding the tourism industry from his time as a Director in his family’s travel agency business which has been around for 29 years. At present, he’s based out of Bangladesh working on Tripooly while also being heavily involved in the local startup ecosystem. ICE Business Times spoke with Rafi about the company that’s innovating the way people can travel abroad and within Bangladesh.
“Tripooly will provide hotel accommodation, flights, tours and activities upon arrival in a detailed itinerary. We understand that it is hectic to plan a vacation and provide all the necessary components in one platform. That’s why Tripooly is here to help you find the best deals in agreement with your demands,” stated Rafi. The company is closely working with 22 operators, vendors, and travel agencies to provide a range of vacations throughout the world. With the exponentially increasing trend of planning a trip through the internet, they provide the details you might need on their website, www.tripooly.com, along with the convenience of flexible payment options. They also provide travel details through their Tripooly app, as he explained, “We have an android app which we’re still trying to improve and we’ll be rolling out an iOS version soon.”
As 2016 has been dubbed the ‘Year of Tourism’, Rafi and his team are expanding their ventures to help boost domestic tourism, “We are working with the a number of vendors to provide packages and tours throughout various regions of the country; these include Sundaraban, Sylhet, Bandarban, Cox Bazar as well as within Dhaka.” Their website features many deals throughout the country with collaborations with different vendors.
Tripooly looks to expand to the lesser known parts of Bangladesh given its rich history. Rafi postulates, “There is a necessity for product development. For example, boat tours have become popular in our nation. With a large channel of rivers, there are so many destinations within our country that include Hail Hoar in Srimangal. These areas are seldom travelled to because of communication issues.” He greatly emphasizes that product development in these scenarios will be essential to improve tourism in our country.
Given the rapid globalization of the world, Bangladesh must highlight its amenities in order to compete. In this regard, he believes, “Domestic carriers must continue to improve their services to reach the potential of a developed nation. An aspect of this is expanding all travel services to a global platform.”
The emphasis on commendable services is an integral part of Tripooly and Rafi’s vision. He states, “The primary concern with any customer is quality. They want the best quality in whatever service they require and with online services they can compare one provider with another. As the world is becoming a smaller place as communication channels are improving, we strive to stay in constant contact with customers ensuring they find the best of what they’re looking for. When it comes to travelling, a client’s primary concern is accommodation; therefore, we ensure that the details of their hotels are given in depth. This applies for both domestic and overseas tours”.
Not only do they ensure that all the details of one’s vacation are satisfactory, but Tripooly will also take on any liability, which essentially means that they’re taking the pressure off the shoulders of the vendors. “The customers have every right to come to us with these complaints because we hold ourselves responsible for the entire experience which includes sales, marketing, and the final service. Hypothetically if you had taken a room in Bhutan and it did not meet your expectations, Tripooly is responsible for speaking to the vendors and sorting it out as we have acted as the intermediary.” The company significantly focuses on customer care. Their attention to quality is evident in the fact that within their first 3 month of service, they have served over USD $75,000 worth of trips.
Tripooly’s success is noteworthy and exemplifies the prospect of startups to flourish in Bangladesh. Rafi advises startups, “You must build experience in the field that you would like to pursue; make your passion your work. Part of my knowledge comes from travelling in Bangladesh and around the world and obtaining the first-hand experience of the demands and necessities of a vacationer. I would not be able to understand the requirements of a customer if I had not experienced these varying conditions during my tours across different parts of the globe. In addition to following your passion, you must focus on building the right team for your business. Nothing is possible without a great team and at Tripooly, we’ve got a fantastic team!”
Further typifying their success, Tripooly was recently picked by e27 (an international tech media platform) as one of the Judges’ Choice Winners for this year’s Echelon Asia Summit 2016. e27 held their TOP 100 competition for startups from Australia, Bangladesh, India, Japan and Kazakhstan and picked one winner from each country. Tripooly was selected as Bangladesh’s winner after making it through the local qualifier event which featured 25 other startups.
Rafi has dared to bring a commodity that was only available in developed nations and turned into a successful reality. With Tripooly, his vision is to encourage people to travel and discover what’s out there in the world. “We want to sell you an experience. We want to inspire you to travel and go on adventures.”

 

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